Costa Rica: a haven for animal lovers

I tend to choose my holidays based on the wildlife I can see, as I absolutely love catching sight of exotic creatures up close. If you’re the same, and find it fascinating to see wild animals face-to-face, going on a holiday to Costa Rica could be the ideal getaway for you.

Huge population of animals

Costa Rica may be small in size, but it certainly makes up for it in terms of how many animals live in this Central American country. Despite only accounting for a tiny 0.03 per cent of the planet’s surface area, it is in the top 20 of countries with the richest biodiversity.

I was surprised to find out that Costa Rica has 16.9 bird species and 4.9 mammal breeds in 1 sq km, compared with 0.2 types of birds and 0.05 mammal species in the same area in Brazil – which says a lot seeing as I have always thought of Brazil as being well-known for its abundant wildlife.

There are so many breeds of animal in Costa Rica, it will almost feel as though you will spot a different creature everywhere you turn!

Explore the rainforest

The best place to find the majority of these beautiful animals is the rainforest and Costa Rica has plenty of lush greenery for you to explore. I would head to La Amistad International Park, as this is the biggest natural reserve in the country.

It covers nearly 200,000 hectares in Costa Rica, but the same proportion of the park is neighbouring nation Panama, so it is – in a word – huge! One of the first things I would do after I’ve landed is join a tour to explore the national park, as this is where I could get close to some 400 species of bird, 213 breeds of mammal and 263 types of amphibian and reptile. That is certainly enough wildlife for me to see on one trip!

The one creature that I would love to spot in the wild, though, is the jaguar. This is the biggest cat in Central and South America, so catching sight of it would be amazing! These mammals thrive in the jungle and can live for up to 15 years in the wild. But, despite them weighing up to 113 kg and measuring 6 ft in length, they remain threatened as many hunters seek them for their fur. So if you do get to see one in the wild, make sure you enjoy the moment!

Uncover an underwater paradise

It isn’t just on land that you can come face-to-face with exotic creatures, and you will see beautiful animals below the surface of the water as well. Costa Rica benefits from having two coastlines, one on the Pacific Ocean and the other on the Caribbean Sea. Therefore, the range of marine life you can see on a holiday to Costa Rica is varied.

Divers can expect to spot the likes of hammerhead sharks, humpback whales, hawksbill turtles and bottle nose dolphins, particularly if you take a trip to Cocos Island off the west coast of the country.

And the rest…

I’ve mentioned just a few of the animals you can spot in Costa Rica, but other exotic creatures you can lay your eyes upon include the following, so make sure you have your camera ready at all times!

• Scarlet macaws
• Howler monkeys
• Toucans
• Three-toed sloths
• Red-eye tree frogs
• Tapirs
• Anteaters
• Hummingbirds

Flybe Offers New Economy Initiative for Passengers

Flybe, a UK-based airline company, is offering a new way to book its New Economy product fares.

The airline is offering a new package that it claims offers passengers good value for money in a single fare bundle.

The New Economy fare bundle includes seat fares, as well as add-on benefits of 10kg hand bag allowance, a complimentary standard sized hold bag, complimentary advance seat selection during time of booking and a complimentary itinerary change for a package price.

Stephen Hobday, the airline director of sales, said, ‘Whilst the undoubted benefits of New Economy sell themselves, we nevertheless needed to create a mechanism to save time for TMCs (Travel Management Companies) and costs for corporate customers when booking in the GDS. With the support of our trade and GDS (Global Distribution System) partners, we are delighted to have now achieved this to everyone’s satisfaction.

Previously this bundle had to be booked separately to the fare, with an MCO issued and additional SSRs for baggage and other added elements. This has now been loaded as a special fare basis across all distribution channels.’

The airline is working closely with its GDS providers to offer this product package to its customers.

Robin Ranken, the head of supplier Europe from Travelport, a preferred GDS partner, said, ‘We are delighted to be working with Flybe to bring their complete product offering to our travel agency customers worldwide. The new bundled fares will make it quicker and easier for agents to book and as a GDS that drives efficiencies across the travel supply chain we are excited to be working with Flybe on this latest development.’

Heathrow Passengers May Face Travel Woes on Boxing Day

Passengers travelling to London Heathrow Airport by rail may face disruptions on December 26, 2012.

Transport for London (TfL), the UK-based government agency responsible for the transport system in Greater London, has reported that ASLEF, the union of tube drivers, has announced strike action on that day, coinciding with a planned maintenance work announced by Network Rail on the Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect network connecting to the airport.

A Heathrow Express statement on its website said, ‘Due to essential Crossrail improvement works, Heathrow Express will not be running any services between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport on December 25 and 26.

Our inter terminal transfer service between Heathrow Terminal 4 and Terminals 1 & 3 will continue to run in line with the planned timetable. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.’

Transport of London said, ‘In general, train services will finish earlier than usual on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, and start later in the day on the Thursday 27 December and Tuesday 1 January. There are no trains running on Christmas Day (some buses will run for Airport services), and only a limited service running around the London and Glasgow areas on Boxing Day.

No trains run in Scotland on New Year’s Day, while some Operators run additional early morning trains from London on New Year’s Day morning following the celebrations in central London.’

The agency has also issued its online annual Festive Travel Guide for London residents and visitors travelling in the city during the Christmas holiday period, offering detailed information on Tube, buses, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), Tramlink, London Overground, Emirates Air Line, Riverboat services, Barclays Cycle Hire and the Congestion Charge.

London Gatwick Airport Gets Ready for Year’s Busiest Season

London Gatwick Airport is gearing up to receive around 1.5 million people travelling through the airport this festive season, from December 17, 2012, to January 2, 2012.

The airport expects to cater to around 700,000 passengers departing over the period, with the busiest day being December 23, 2012, when around 56,000 passengers are expected to fly from the airport for some festive cheer.

Louisa Craven, a spokesperson for Gatwick Airport, said, ‘This year sees a great mix of top Christmas destinations as passengers fly out to enjoy the ski season in Switzerland, visit friends and family across the UK and soak up some winter sun.

Staff and extra helpers, including the London Ambassadors who made such a great impression during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, will be on hand to assist at every stage to ensure our passengers enjoy a great experience at Gatwick with some fun, festive entertainment along the way.’

The airport is reporting that the top three destinations this year for Christmas are Geneva, Edinburgh and Dubai. For travellers the airport is offering a number of entertaining options, including photo opportunities with Santa and his reindeers; carol singers adding to the festive ambience; and the presence of London Ambassadors, the team of volunteers who helped the international visitors during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The airport is also offering a Shop and Drop service for passengers, offering them opportunities to store their shopping bags at the airport during the time of departure, and to collect them on returning back to the airport after the vacation, free of charge.

Jet2com Announces Expanded Schedule to Rome and Barcelona from Glasgow, a UK-based low-cost airline operating out of Leeds Bradford Airport, is expanding its services to Barcelona, Spain; and Rome, Italy.

The services from Glasgow Airport to Barcelona and Rome have been extended for all year round from the summer of 2013. Fares commence from £38 one way for a twice weekly service to Rome; while airfares commence from £37 one way for services to Barcelona.

Steve Heapy, the chief commercial officer of, said, ‘Rome and Barcelona are two of our most popular destinations and so we want to ensure customers can visit at any time of year. With our generous 22kg baggage allowance people can take their winter woollies or summer gear and really make the most of their trips.’

Amanda McMillan, managing director at Glasgow Airport, said, ‘This yet more positive news from which is clearly committed to continually improving its service for customers.

The extension of its popular Barcelona and Rome routes will provide passengers with greater flexibility and choice and it follows the airline’s recent decision to introduce flights to Murcia, Pula and Menorca.’

The airline – in August 2013 – will be adding a fourth aircraft based out of its hub at Glasgow Airport, extending its services from the area. The airline’s additional capacity from the airport will add around 50 new jobs, and increase the frequency of service to destinations such as the Canaries, Majorca, Ibiza and Turkey.

The airline had earlier announced new services, with flights to Murcia departing from Glasgow Airport twice a week, from May 24, 2013, with fares commencing from £41 per person; weekly flights to Pula will commence on June 18, 2013, with fares from £49 per person; and weekly flights to Menorca commence on May 25, 2013, for fares starting from £41 per person.